The New York Times reports: At a senior staff meeting early in President Trump’s tenure, Reince Priebus, then the White House chief of staff, posed a simple question to Jared Kushner: What would his newly created Office of American Innovation do?
Mr. Kushner brushed him off, according to people privy to the exchange. Given that he and his top lieutenants were paid little or nothing, Mr. Kushner asked, “What do you care?” He emphasized his point with an expletive.
“O.K.,” Mr. Priebus replied. “You do whatever you want.”
Few in the opening days of the Trump administration dared to challenge Mr. Kushner’s power to design his job or steer the direction of the White House as he saw fit. But 10 months after being given free rein to tackle everything from the federal government’s outdated technology to peace in the Middle East, the do-whatever-you-want stage of Mr. Kushner’s tenure is over.
Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who had been in seemingly every meeting and every photograph, has lately disappeared from public view and, according to some colleagues, taken on a more proscribed role behind the scenes. He is still forging ahead on a plan to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal that has eluded presidents and diplomats for generations, and he has been credited with focusing attention on the government’s technological needs. But he is no longer seen as the primary presidential consigliere with the limitless portfolio. [Continue reading…]